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The Best Bottles Of Scotch Whisky Between $30-$40

We’re looking for the best Scotch whisky at every price point this year. To kick things off, we thought we’d start off low — but not “bottom shelf” low. Mostly because scotch is just naturally more expensive (tariffs, travel, less of it, etc.) than other types of whisk(e)y. But also, scotch gets really interesting in the $30 to $40 range. Your options include classic blended juice and a few affordable single malts as well.

It’s one of the first sweet spots in Scotch whisky pricing.

Please note that, depending on where you live, some of these bottles might not be quite as cheap as they are here. Prices vary greatly from coast to coast and even shop to shop. That being said, maybe you luck out and you find them for a little cheaper.

The ten bottles below were selected based on price, taste, and availability. We tried to cast a wide net in the flavor department — since scotch is a pretty wide category with a lot of nuances. We also tried to choose bottles that are widely available at your average shop or online delivery service.

Happy hunting!

Dewar’s 12

Bacardi

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $32

The Whisky:

Dewar’s is a blend of 40 whiskies with the famed Highland Aberfeldy at its core. The whisky is aged for 12 years before blending. Then the juice spends a final six months mellowing in a batch tun (tank) before it’s proofed and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Vanilla, oak, and caramel draw you in with a note of maltiness. The palate expands on those flavors with a mild Christmas spiciness, focused on nutmeg next to a slight vanilla creaminess and whisper of honey-crusted nuts. The end is velvety, smooth, and creamy thanks to that vanilla, with a mild spice warmth on the finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a really easy sipper on the rocks. The water helps open it up and those flavors really bloom with an added hint of fruit. It’s also a classic highball base.

The Famous Grouse Ruby Cask

The Erdington Group

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $33

The Whisky:

The Famous Grouse Ruby Cask utilizes classic Grouse — which touches on Highland Park — and then adds in a port cask finish. That finishing touch adds a depth to the light blend that helps it really stand out amongst The Famous Grouse line.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear maltiness at play next to hints of cinnamon candies and vanilla cream, with a touch of roasted almond. The taste amps the spiciness up to full Christmas cake territory with plenty of dried fruits and more nuttiness, while holding onto the malt. A hint of orange zest comes in late as the sip fades out fairly quickly.

Bottom Line:

This is another dram that needs water to really open it up — otherwise, it’s a bit warm. While a highball is the best play, this also works in classic cocktails.

The Glenlivet 12

Pernod Ricard

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $34

The Whisky:

This Speyside single malt is a good entry point into the wider world of The Glenlivet, especially if you can find it at this price. This single malt juice is aged for 12 years in both American and European oak before blending, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Fruit, fruit, fruit!

There’s a real sense of both tropical fruits, like pineapple, next to orchard fruits, like apricot. Plus you get a slight hint of citrus. The palate really leans into the pineapple but more like a sweet and buttery pineapple cake with a vanilla frosting. The oak comes in late and only peeks in as the fade amps up the sweetness of the fruit.

Bottom Line:

This is sweet and fruity. That makes it really easy to drink, especially in a highball or on the rocks.

Johnnie Walker Black

Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $35

The Whisky:

This is Johnnie Walker’s entry point blend that’s crafted for sipping (Johnnie Red is made for mixing). The juice is a blend of 40 Diageo whiskies with an emphasis on Caol Ila, Talisker, Lagavulin, and Cardhu amongst many others.

Tasting Notes:

This is subtle, with hints of cedarwood next to very mild yet earthy peat malts and sweet fruit. Those malts carry through as a hint of dark, powdery spices arrive. The sweetness remains subtle as the fade comes about quickly and is buttoned by a final whisper of smoke.

Bottom Line:

Drink it on the rocks as it’s meant to be. Though, it really works best in a highball.

Laphroaig 10

Beam Suntory

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $36

The Whisky:

This Islay single malt is a great entry point for peaty whisky. The malts are dried with the island’s signature peat smoke. And that flavor is built into every layer of the juice as it’s barreled, blended, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

You’re greeted with a big billow of peat smoke next to a sea brine edge, mild spice, and a hint of sweet caramel. The palate sweetens the smoke slightly as the sea brine really kicks up a notch leading towards toasted oak, creamy vanilla, and a hint of black pepper. The finish lingers on your senses with all that iodine-y smoke and sea salt (think something like smoked white fish) with a little bit of charcoal sneaking in late.

Bottom Line:

This is another one where the price is going to range pretty wildly. If you do want to snag a bottle and start your journey on the smoky whisky path, make sure to add some water to let this bloom properly.

Chivas Regal 12

Chivas Brothers

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $35

The Whisky:

This Highland whisky is built around the famed Strathisla Distillery. The whisky is crafted to work as a sipper or mixer, with real complexity built-in. It really shines in both respects.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a matrix of oak, nuts, malts, and fruit up top. The fruitiness leans into orchards in full bloom as a minerality drives the taste towards spicy tobacco with a hint of creamy vanilla. The oak peeks back in with a little more maltiness, as the end slowly fades alongside a mild chewiness.

Bottom Line:

This a really easy sipper to have on hand. It’s the classic “scotch on the rocks” whisky after all.

Monkey Shoulder

Willam Grant & Sons

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $36

The Whisky:

This Speyside blend is crafted as a workhorse whisky. The juice is drawn from the William Grant & Sons distilleries, focusing on Kininvie, Glenfiddich, and The Balvenie. The juice is then rested for up to six months after blending to let it mellow even more before proofing and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a nice welcoming note of creamy vanilla that almost becomes cream soda, next to hints of zesty orange marmalade, malts, and dark spices. The taste delivers on those notes by amping the spices up to Christmas cake territory with a slight tart berry edge next to that cream soda sweetness. The end is short and sweet with a nice lightness that really makes this very drinkable.

Bottom Line:

It’s really hard not to love this whisky. It’s an incredibly solid cocktail mixer but works on the rocks just as well.

Shackleton Blended Malt

Emperador Inc.

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $37

The Whisky:

This whisky is a bit of a conversation starter that also delivers a solid taste. The whisky is a retread of the actual whisky Sir Ernest Shackleton took with him on his voyage to Antarctica in the early 1900s. The juice is a recreation of that exact dram — with a few of the rougher edges taken off to make it a little more palatable to today’s drinker.

Tasting Notes:

Malty crackers dusted with brown sugar and cinnamon greet you. The taste builds on those notes, with plenty of orange zest and caramel-dipped apples next to a whisper of oak. The orange drives the sip towards its short yet malty finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a solid bottle to have around to mix up some serious cocktails.

Tomatin 12

Takara Shuzo

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $37

The Whisky:

This heavily awarded single malt from the Highlands is a classic and accessible example of the region. The single malt juice is aged in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry for 12 years before those whiskies are married, proofed with the soft Highland spring water, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real sense of soft cedar on the nose with a bit of wildflower next to marzipan sweetness and nuttiness. The palate is ultra-svelte, with a creamy vanilla pudding next to buttery toffee covered in roasted almonds — all counterpointed by fresh ginger and orange zest spiciness. T

he sip ends with a hint of malts next to more of that cedar and final notes of pears and apples.

Bottom Line:

Try this one with a little water or a rock to really let it bloom. Then have fun mixing it into your favorite cocktails.

Buchanan’s DeLuxe

Diageo

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $38

The Whisky:

Buchanan’s is another Diageo blend that’s making a big comeback. Just last year this expression snagged a Double Gold from San Francisco World Spirit Competiton. The whisky has a long history and is built to be a classic “on the rocks” whisky.

Tasting Notes:

The whiskey opens with a real sense of dark chocolate married to bright orange zest. The palate builds on that adding in hints of vanilla pudding and dark spices next to a cedar woodiness and a little bit of spicy/ chewy tobacco. A whisper of peat arrives late and far in the background as the chocolate orange throughline lasts the longest on the fade.

Bottom Line:

Drink it on the rocks. That’s what it’s made for, folks.

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